Open source software has been one of the greatest sources of innovation, claims OIN but says that “the last decade has seen an enormous rise in software patent suits.” That is is why OIN, or the Open Invention Network, was launched in 2005. “To build a collective defensive solution,” it says. Now that solution seems to have got stronger with the addition of Microsoft to its ranks.
Reiterating that precise point, Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft, explained: “We believe the protection OIN offers the open source community helps increase global contributions to and adoption of open source technologies.”
OIN’s mission is to protect Linux. In addition to Microsoft it has backing from Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota.
“Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community,” said Andersen.
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Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network says that “open source development continues to expand into new products and markets to create unrivaled levels of innovation.”
He added: “Microsoft’s participation in OIN adds to our strong community, which through its breadth and depth has reduced patent risk in core technologies, and unequivocally signals for all companies who are using OSS but have yet to join OIN that the litmus test for authentic behavior in the OSS community includes OIN participation.”
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According to OIN, its “community practices patent non-aggression in core open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by Open Invention Network are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.” The OIN license can be signed online at http://www.j-oin.net/.
OIN says that “Open Invention Network was created to ensure a level playing field for Linux, safeguarding developers, distributors and users from organizations that would leverage intellectual property to hinder its growth and innovation. We do this by acquiring and sharing intellectual property to promote a collaborative Linux ecosystem. We do this by providing a royalty-free license to OIN’s strategic intellectual property portfolio and cross licensing Linux System patents between OIN community members.”
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